The core values at The Citadel are well-known throughout campus. Citadel cadets are taught the principles of honor, duty and respect the moment they walk through the gates. Honor — the first core value of The Citadel — was the topic discussed among the different senior military colleges and federal service academies during the first ever Citadel Honor Conference.
The Citadel Honor Conference took place Feb. 9 and 10, and the campus hosted all six senior military colleges and five federal service academies. On the first day of the conference, cadets and students were welcomed by the Commandant of Cadets, Col. Tom Gordon, USMC (Ret.), ’91. The Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79, and Sally Selden, Ph.D., provost of The Citadel discussed the importance of honor, character and academic integrity on the second day of the conference. The Citadel, Norwich, Texas A&M, University of North Georgia, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, United States Air Force Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Military Academy (West Point), United States Merchant Marine Academy and United States Naval Academy all had participants to represent and discuss their respective honor codes and systems.
“This was the first time that The Citadel has hosted an honor conference, and it was a year in the making. There was a lot of planning involved — it was a total team effort at the Krause Center. We wanted to establish relationships with these schools and academies and use the conference as a way to collaborate and share ideas designed to improve all of the different honor systems and processes,” said Col. Craig Streeter, USMC (Ret.), associate director for honor and character development at the Krause Center. “We all have similar honor codes and honor challenges, so this conference was a chance to get together, discuss our challenges and work towards finding common solutions. We all learned from each other.”
The purpose of the honor conference was to establish an honor-focused support network between senior military colleges and federal service academics, share honor resources and foster a spirit of collaboration and transparency between the various honor programs.
“This conference gave all 10 senior military colleges and academies the chance to learn and experience how the other honor codes work. We had all of these different uniforms and different people around us, but we all share one common trait and that’s the honor that we have. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from everybody else and how they operate,” said Cadet Drew Johnson, chair for The Citadel’s honor committee. “As you go through your time at The Citadel, you begin to understand and respect the honor code and honor committee, because it all goes towards the ring that you wear. It’s what makes the people who wear the ring special.”
The first day of the honor conference allowed each military college and academy to present their school’s honor system briefs. While each had similarities, it was a chance for each cadet and student to reflect on their own school’s honor code and system.
Sibi Bagavathy, a senior cadet at the Virginia Military Institute, said, “It’s been great to come to The Citadel for the honor conference, especially getting to see the honor system briefs from other schools. It’s been an opportunity for us to reflect on our own system and see where can we learn from other schools and what can we do better. It’s a great chance to see how each system works to reach the same goal that we all have.”
The second day of the honor conference allowed cadets and students to have deeper discussions on honor topics and differences in each school’s system. Overall, the honor conference led to many in-depth discussions on honor, honor codes and honor systems as well as how to better them.
“The Citadel honor conference was a success, everyone involved was happy and ready to come back again next year. Honor is, and will remain, an important topic for us to discuss. We’re hoping that we can continue to host this event,” said Streeter.
The Krause Center creates and advances Citadel-focused leadership programs, ethics education and community engagement to develop principled leaders. The honor conference, along with The Class of 1979 Leadership Day and Greater Issues addresses, are some of the programs they provide to provide leadership development to Citadel cadets and students.